Income Annuities Can Transform Retirement Savings into Income Do you have enough money to retire? Are you guaranteed enough to last for the rest of your life? Are you concerned that you’ll run out of income before the...

By Deanna Ritchie

This story originally appeared on Due

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Do you have enough money to retire? Are you guaranteed enough to last for the rest of your life? Are you concerned that you'll run out of income before the end of your life? Social Security contributions are around 40% of an average wage earner's pre-retirement earnings. If, like the majority of people, you aren't able to access an employer-provided pension plan, then you'll have to pay the remainder. An approximate rule of thumb is that you'll need to earn 80 percent of your pre-retirement earnings.

Let's say that you've done all the right things. You've benefited from the plan offered by your employer and saved money within your 401(k) 457, 403(b) account, and made wise investments. You've also put money into an IRA, or maybe you have a Roth IRA.

What is the best way to convert one of those savings to guaranteed earnings? Many economists suggest annuitizing a large part of your savings for retirement.

"Annuitizing a portion of your assets ensures you're able to pay the entirety of your amount of retirement income," according to Wharton Financial Institutions Center. "Annuitization is the only feasible method to secure this level of assurance without spending much more money," the Center advises.

Do you want to delay an annuity with deferred income? Here's a quick alternative

Those who require instant retirement income may opt to purchase an immediate annuity.

Because you're receiving immediate income that starts at a lower age, you'll earn less per month. See your tax advisor to learn how much is tax-deductible.

Retirees with a sufficient guaranteed income are often very content. In addition, annuities can provide assured income security and confidence.

Can an income annuity outperform the pension plan of your company?

If you're enrolled in a traditional pension plan, your income will start once you turn 65. However, it's not always a simple decision.

If you're in the process of retiring, talk to your employer about the size of your lump sum option as well as your monthly payments. After that, you can request estimates from annuity providers. Take time to compare before you commit.

An annuity is built on the same principles as a pension; however, the insurance provider does look at gender. (Pension plans don't.) Any time a company looks at gender as a distinguishing feature — it can be a disadvantage for women. Statistically, females live longer. Males stand to benefit.

If you decide to go this route, you need to roll over the lump sum of pension into an IRA to avoid a colossal tax charge upon distribution.

How about an Annuity IRA?

With an Annuity IRA, you can choose when you begin getting retirement earnings. For example, you can start receiving penalty-free income at the age of 59 1/2 or hold them until you reach the age of 72, at which point you have to start taking the required minimum distributions (RMDs).

Most pension plans begin making payments when you reach 65. So the seven years of tax deferral may make your savings more substantial when you're able to hold off.

Although most people opt for an annuity that lasts for a lifetime, it is possible to choose the duration of your contract. For instance, the fifteen-year Annuity will produce a higher income than one that lasts a lifetime. In addition, planning your distribution amount is an excellent option for those who have other income sources that will start later on.

The majority of pension plans are safe, but some are not adequately funded. The majority of pensions are covered from The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, but only within certain limits. If you have reason to believe your pension plan is not adequately funded, you can lower the risk by opting out of it.

A lump-sum payout transfers the risk associated with longevity and investment performance from the pension plan's sponsor to the plan participant. Then, you can transfer the uncertainty to the annuity provider through the form of an IRA annuity.

Two ways to guard yourself in the event of a decision to purchase an annuity

You'll want assurance that the insurance company you choose will be in a position to fulfill the long-term obligations it has made to you. It is easy to find the financial strength rating from A.M. Best Company, or if you do not want to sign up as a customer with A.M. Best, you can look here for ratings and on the insurance company's website and other websites.

Annuity insurers submit regular financial reports to state insurance departments that rigorously control the company. Furthermore, state-guaranty organizations guarantee annuities up to a certain amount in the case of an insurer's bankruptcy.

Besides conducting due diligence on the company, you're looking at; you can split payments with several insurers. In addition, you can split it over several insurers, so you'll be protected by the Guaranty Association.

The post Income Annuities Can Transform Retirement Savings into Income appeared first on Due.

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